I pull into the Best Buy parking lot. Stacie’s Honda is parked on the side of the store, as always. I park next to it and get out, holding onto the door of my car for support. My legs feel strange, bloated. I think–I don’t want to check, though–that the lower parts of them are filled with blood. Because it’s not circulating now, not without my heart to pump it. And my heart isn’t moving. I kept checking my pulse on the way over here, checking both my wrists and neck, but nothing. I can barely see my veins. They look . . . flat. And my skin is pale, but dark purple in some areas, like around my eyes.
I close the door and lean against the car for a second. Odd, not needing to breathe.
I wish this scared me.
I make my way to the front of the store, find myself staring at a guy in a LSU T-shirt who’s parked out front, loading a giant TV into the bed of his truck. His shirt is rucked up in the back, and his skin . . . his flesh . . . I turn my head and spit. My spit’s pink. I think it’s blood. I wipe away the spit, the drool, that’s leaking from the corners of my mouth. I stop looking at the guy.
Inside the store now. I find Stacie in the DVD section. She smiles when she sees me, and I gesture to the rear of the store, to the large appliances. She nods. I walk–okay, shuffle–to it.
She meets me by the washers and dryers a few minutes later. She’s still smiling when she approaches, but the smile slips when she gets a good look at me.
“You don’t look so good. Do you feel okay?”
As a matter of fact, I feel nothing at all. I nod.
“Well, you–” and then she touches my left cheek. “Jeez, you feel cold.”
“Listen, Stacie, I–”
“Maybe it’s the flu. I mean, it’s October, it might be the flu, right. I hope it’s not, I don’t want to get sick! Oh my God, did you hear about that McDonald’s near Academy? Some maniac went in and shot a bunch of people and–”
I let her talk. She’s so vibrant. So alive. For a second, I’m jealous.
Then I’m hungry. And I start thinking that maybe I need to eat something. Like Stacie.
I ponder this for a second, this wanting to eat my girlfriend. The idea’s not repulsive, though. It actually makes sense. She’s warm and moving and her blood is pumping. Maybe if I devour her, I’ll live again. There were some cultures, I recall from my high school history class, that believed if they ate the flesh of their enemies, they’d gain their powers.
How will I know if I don’t try?
I lean in close to her and whisper her name.